2002-06-20 - Remember
Titus 3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. (NAS)
I hear it too often, "I don't understand why they do that!" I hear it from believers young and old, and even from myself too. "What were they thinking?" "I don't know how they get through that without God." The speakers are believers referring to non-believers and their various practices or habits that may indeed seem odd from a believer's perspective.
In the book The Hunt for Red October, the main character named Jack Ryan finally meets with the Russian Captain Ramius who is trying to defect to the United States with his officers and his submarine - the Red October. When Ramius determines that Ryan, who is a CIA Analyst, speaks the Russian language he addresses him directly. Ryan answers one of his questions along the lines that understanding the Russian languages helps him understand his opponent. Ramius returns his agreement to Ryan in perfect English.
In order to do his work, Jack Ryan had to alter his mind set to understand the motives of the Russian military to help him in determining future moves and plans. If we as believers want to help the people around us to understand the love of Jesus Christ for them, we need to understand their mind set and motives. Fortunately, we do not have to learn a language as difficult as Russian, Chinese or Japanese. All we had to do is remember our motives before we believed. Indeed, all we have to do is turn and look at our 'old man' - the sin nature that still struggles for life inside us. We are not so far removed from the rest of humanity that, if we stop and think for one minute, we will not have a better understanding of what they are doing and feeling - when they are hurting and need someone to talk with in that hurting time. They may be trying to fill a God-sized hole in their lives with recognition - that does not satisfy.
Our needs and the needs of the world around us are not that different at the foundation. We have a need to be included, cared for and loved. We have a desire to know God, and to know what happens after death. We have a need for safety, shelter and food. We have an innate curiosity and desire to learn and know about the world around us. We have a need to share in our times of celebration and victory, and to be comforted in our times of loss and confusion. Look at the confusing things around you through the eyes of the basic needs of mankind. Many things, including what we might consider awful social and religious traditions are couched in a desire to be included, or to please God as they understand deity.
Our needs have one difference. We have met the living Lord Jesus. We have the opportunity to know God and learn more about Him. We are included in a family of believers. Our eternal security is assured in the promises written to us in the Bible. The death of a friend or family member is an excellent opportunity to meet someone at the point of those basic needs. It is something we can all understand as far as the loss and the pain. But we have a comfort to share. We have two helpings of it to share if the one who passed from this life is a believing Christian. Their will be a chance to meet them again and spend eternity with them. "How can you know that is true?", is an open door to pour a little light and comfort of the gospel in to an open wound. We have what the world wants - the answer to their questions and doubts. All we have to do is understand where we came from, and not be afraid to share when the door opens.
2 Tim 4:1-2 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. (NAS)
Remember the keys - "with great patience and instruction".
Grace & Peace,